A multi-agency effort spearheaded by Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC); orthopedic surgeon and former Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) media spokesman Dr. Michael Suk; and family physician Dr. Daphne Miller to educate healthcare providers about the value of physical activity in the outdoors is underway.
“It is common for medical professionals to counsel patients to increase activity,” said Dr. Suk in a news release. “Yet these experts lack the tools to help patients find nearby, safe open spaces and actually get outdoors.”
Recent research shows marked benefits to outdoor activity, including:
- People with nearby access to a park or open space were 50% more likely to maintain a routine of walking.
- Outdoor exercise can improve mental health, particularly among young people.
- 40% of cancers and other diseases of a sedentary, indoor lifestyle can be eliminated by people becoming more active outdoors.
- 74% of adults are not meeting their daily needs for exercise.
RVIA research indicates that RVing helps promote physical activity. Nearly three-fourths of RVers (74%) say they are more physically active on RV vacations than other types of vacations, and 81% say their children are also more physically active when traveling by RV. Popular outdoor activities with RVers include hiking, walking, biking, canoeing and kayaking.
The group published a report titled “Park Prescriptions: Profiles and Resources for Health from the Great Outdoors” that provides 13 case studies demonstrating effective programs for encouraging people to increase their outdoor activity.
The initiative brings together representatives from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Council on Environmental Quality, as well as an array of outdoors and medical groups who are working to prepare a report for President Obama, which is due November 15.